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Social Media to the (Cancerous) Bone


God bless Terry. 

I was standing in line at Panda Express a couple of days ago with my daughter Leah, who never seems to tire of chow mein. A fairly small, and somewhat frail-looking man right behind us had a few questions for Leah. He thought she might know his daughter.

Parents can get creeped out when strangers do this. However, Terry didn’t remain a stranger for long.

We got to talking. The line was kind of long, so the convo lasted 10 or more minutes. I learned all kinds of stuff about the man.

He fought Roberto Duran. He proved it with a photo he keeps on his iPhone.

His daughter is a dancer (like both of mine are).

He served in the marines for 4 and half years (he was wearing a ballcap that inspired me to ask). 

He retired recently after working at the Folsom prison for 30 years. 

He has bone cancer. 

And this is about social media, how? 

Terry and I didn’t have a lightweight conversation about Facebook advertising or getting more Twitter followers. I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk or write about this type of stuff.

I’m saying I’m never going to forget Terry because he let me into his life. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever see Terry again. Given his tragic illness, I don’t even know if he’ll walk the earth very much longer. But I’ll tell you this… 

Though I didn’t give Terry my business card or phone number, if he should somehow find me and ask something of me, the answer would be yes. I don't care what that request might be. I like the man. I feel for him. He’s friendly. He’s vulnerable. He’s human. 

When you make social connections, are you really making a connection? Or are you holding back? Are you scared to allow the true you to come shining through?

Give me you. The real you. For better or worse. I’m not going to remember you by your tips. If you don’t tell me a story, I’m not going to remember you at all.

I don’t want get to know you by reading your obituary. I want to get to know you now. 

Join The Conversation

  • greykite's picture
    Apr 5 Posted 3 years ago greykite

    Good question - but I don't have a definitive answer. If you need some therapy, here's one I enjoyed that might tickle your comment-writing fancy ...

  • FeldmanCreative's picture
    Apr 5 Posted 3 years ago FeldmanCreative

    Yeah, gulp. 

    Good to see you here in the comments dept. Not a lot commentary takes place here on SMT.

    Got any ideas why?

    Is blog commentary dying? 



  • greykite's picture
    Apr 5 Posted 3 years ago greykite

    Hi Barry

    Powerful stuff. Facing up to mortality often brings people together – you don't have look far ...

    Yet most of us are reluctant to open up – worried maybe of how people will react. I have a client who became a good friend after we shared our (scarily similar) reasons for leaving corporate life. The first step is the most difficult, yet the one that counts most.


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